Fitness equipment for at home is like sand on the Elbe beach. The price range of the training equipment is open at the top. In this article you will learn how to set up a great HomeGym – for 300 euros or less.
Did you know that many of the high-end devices in a fitness studio cost 10,000 euros and more? And you can also sink a lot of money into “cheap” tools. Namely when they are either useless – or unused as clothes racks, gathering dust. The fact is:
You don’t need most fitness equipment for home.
Exceptions of course confirm the rule. And that’s what this is about.
Because you can stay tuned even on a tight budget. With the right basics you can achieve the same in your own four walls as in a good fitness studio.
My challenge in this article is a different one: I’ll show you how you can set up a HomeGym with a maximum of 300 euros.
- Requirements: What should fitness equipment do at home?
- Must-have fitness equipment: With these three training equipment you build yourself for a small HomeGym for less than 300 euros.
- Nice-to-have fitness equipment: These fitness equipment for home fit (almost) all in one drawer and give you even more variation options.
- Training plan: You can get started right away with this muscle building plan.
If you’re like me, then you know the situation: On some days there may be enough time for the way to the gym – but not for the workout itself.
On days like this, the workout quickly falls completely flat.
If you really want to be fit, you need a plan B – a no-excuses solution: the opportunity to stay tuned within your own four walls. No matter what happens.
Requirements: This is what fitness equipment for the home should be able to do
In my opinion, good training equipment for at home should meet the following requirements:
- Little space requirement. My 48-square-meter apartment in an old building is in the city of Hamburg, every square centimeter is precious. For me, fitness equipment for home should therefore be compact and not dominate the apartment. IF they are visible, they must not spoil the apartment. Ideally, they even beautify the apartment.
- Quality comes first. “If you buy cheap, you buy twice.” According to this principle, I don’t just buy my training equipment. When in doubt, I prefer to invest a few euros more equipment that works as it should, is fun and doesn’t take time after three months.
- Proven classics. Every year new “wonder weapons” hit the market. In online marketplaces in particular, there is more and more cheap junk. I like classics – simple solutions that have proven and don’t follow every new trend. This also applies to my equipment.
- Easily mobile. Of course, dumbbells can be pretty heavy. Nevertheless, my training device should be as light and as portable as possible, so that I can have it with me when I am on vacation or on the go.
- Versatile. Some workout machines can be used for exactly one muscle group and exercise. Such tools have no place in the HomeGym: They cost space and money. The tools you use should be as flexible as possible for many exercises and muscle groups.
The recommendations that I give you in the following sections are based on these requirement criteria.
Must-haves: Indispensable fitness equipment for the home – for less than 300 euros
In the following I recommend nine fitness machines for you at home: three must-haves and six nice-to-haves.
For every product you will find out why I think it belongs in your HomeGym. And you also get at least one specific product recommendation for each category.
You will see that you can easily invest 3,000 euros in this basic equipment. But with the inexpensive solutions listed below, you will stay below the estimated 300 euros.
And now, curtain up for …
Note on the product recommendations: Where possible, I have linked not only Amazon but also the specialist retailer Sport-Tiedje from Schleswig, where I now order most of the training equipment.
1. Must-have: dumbbells (from 80 euros)
If there is just one tool that you buy for your HomeGym, it is this one.
By that I don’t mean any electric abdominal belts or rickety machines from teleshopping.
The ultimate fitness machine for at home is the good old dumbbell.
9 reasons why you should exercise with dumbbells:
- Dumbbells are good for thousands of exercises .
- Dumbbells are good for twice as many exercises as barbells, simply because you can do each Exercise unilaterally (i.e. each side of the body).
- Dumbbells save money that you don’t have to invest in expensive machines or a gym membership.
- Dumbbells Save space because they replace larger training machines or barbell racks.
- Dumbbells help you build a symmetrical, balanced body because you can separate each side of your body you train.
- Dumbbells help you to build strong core muscles .
- Dumbbells require more balance, activate the neuromuscular system and the deep-set muscles far more than machines (and also more than barbells).
- Dumbbells do not force you into any given movement processes – just like machines. This enables more natural, more functional movement patterns and prevents injuries.
- Dumbbells are safer to handle than barbells – in the event that you drop the dumbbell or train without a workout partner.
There are basically three different dumbbell solutions as a training device for at home. Which of these is optimal for you depends on your budget and the available space.
Each of these three solutions has its own advantages and disadvantages. We’ll go through them briefly so you can make an informed decision.
Note: Dumbbells are mostly sold individually and not as a pair. You need a pair for the HomeGym, so I have noted the pair price below.
Premium solution: studio dumbbells (1,100 euros)
You can start with a smaller set of dumbbell pairs.
Why isn’t a single pair enough? You need the different weights because large muscle groups like your legs have much more strength than your arms, for example.
As you get stronger, you can buy heavier weights and continue to challenge yourself.
Pro: This is the most uncomplicated solution for training itself. You don’t have to retrofit anything, just grab it.
Cons: In the long run, this is the most expensive solution: An “inexpensive” entry-level set with 7 pairs of dumbbells (5-20 kg) is available from around 550 euros, the full program (5-50 kg) already costs around 2,500 euros. A dumbbell rack costs between 200 euros and 1,550 euros. Another aspect is the high space requirement.
Product recommendation: 11 pairs of studio dumbbells, 1,100 euros (5-30 kg)
Budget solution: variable dumbbells (from 80 euros)
You save space and money if you invest in a pair of dumbbells with a freely selectable weight.
For this you need two dumbbell bars, sufficient weight washers and two nuts each with which you can fix the weights on the barbell.
Pro: Most cost-effective solution.
Cons: Awkward. Changing the weight plates takes time. The handling can be annoying and lengthen the breaks between your training sets.
Product recommendation: Dumbbell set, 80 euros
(If required: additional weight plates)
Recommendation: dumbbell system (from 499 euros)
For several years there have been dumbbell systems in which you literally change your weight in no time at all.
For most people, this is the best solution.
Pro: They are comfortable, save space, money and one pair replaces an entire shelf of gym weights.
Cons: If there is one disadvantage, it is that the dumbbell is relatively bulky and initially looks unwieldy. But most people get used to it very quickly and get along well with it.
Product recommendation: Bowflex SelectTech BF1090i, 899 euros (4.5-40.8 kg).
This model is cheaper, but also lighter (2-24 kg).
Alternative: Power Block Sport 90 EXP, 599 euros (1-23 kg), upgradable to 32 kg (level 2, 199 euros) and 41 kg (level 2 + level 3, each 199 Euros).
2. Must-have: chin-up bar (40 euros)
Pull-ups are the supreme discipline among strength exercises for the upper body.
If you want to get in excellent shape and become really strong, there is no way around them.
There are three types of home pull-up bars. For the past 20 years I’ve tried all three in my household – they all work:
- Pull-up bar to hang in (40 euros). Can be simply hung into the door frame without screws or drilling and stowed away again after use. Mostly it can also be used for pushups and triceps dips. A suitable, solid door frame is required.
- Door bar for mounting in the door frame (30 euros). This variant is screwed into the door frame. Pull-up training works great with it, but taller people can hit their heads.
- Pull-up bar for wall or ceiling mounting (100 euros). Drilling and screwing are necessary here. It’s great if you have the space for it and invest some time in the assembly.
Recommendation: In most households, variant one will be the most uncomplicated solution. (Tip: Make sure to check the door frame dimensions beforehand and compare them with the manufacturer’s information.)
You can’t do a pull-up yet? No problem!
If you haven’t done a single pull-up or only a few pull-ups, it doesn’t matter – most people do so at first.
Then you can help yourself with a thick resistance band made of rubber, which you can easily order online (e.g. Dittmann chin-up band). With the ring-shaped resistance band you can absorb part of your body weight and thus simplify the pull-up.
How to use the resistance band as support (see figure on the right):
- Attach the resistance band to the pull-up bar by throwing one end over the pull-up bar so that it forms a loop.
- Now guide the other end of the resistance band through the loop and pull it tight so that it cannot come loose.
- Put one foot into the hanging end of the loop (If necessary, use a stool to help).
- Place your other leg in front of the supported leg. You are now ready-to-go!
3. Must-have: weight bench (from 150 euros)
With a weight bench many strength exercises with dumbbells are really fun. They are also more convenient to carry out.
In theory, you can also train with dumbbells without a weight bench – for example with a stable (!) chair without backrests or a wooden bench.
I don’t have either of these in my household, so a weight bench is a must-have for me.
That brings a good weight bench with you:
- Solid foundation: The weight bench must be able to stand rock solid on the floor. A workout in which the weight bench wobbles is no fun!
- Adjustable backrest: The backrest should be adjustable to allow you to do an even greater variety of exercises. Of course, the backrest must not wobble either and should sit firmly in every position.
- Overall impression : The quality of workmanship should be good overall. If something wobbles, you get annoyed during training for years and have a lot of fun. When in doubt, it is worth investing a little more in a good weight bench.
Product recommendation: This inexpensive model (150 euros) definitely does it. I treated myself to this excellently made model (700 euros), which offers maximum training comfort and looks great.
Time for an interim balance. These three fitness machines for the home belong – in my opinion – in every home gym:
- A good set of dumbbells – 80 euros
- A pull-up bar – 40 euros
- A weight bench – 150 euros
Makes a total of 270 euros .
Goal achieved. With 300 euros you can start wonderfully – and not with scrap, but with high-quality equipment.
Sure, the scale is also open here: Once you’ve trained with system dumbbells, you won’t want to do without their comfort. On the other hand, it is sometimes nice not to immediately fulfill all dreams.
Of the 300 euros there is even a bit of a buffer for extras. For example, a resistance band for pull-ups, additional weight plates for the dumbbells or one of the following nice-to-haves.
Nice-to-haves: These fitness equipment for at home give your HomeGym the finishing touch
More comfort, more fun, more variety – the following training devices are the icing on the cake for your workout.
During the brainstorming for this article they made it to the final, but were then chosen by the jury (i.e. me) for the second guard.
If you have a tight budget, you can do without them for the time being and expand your HomeGym at a later date.
4. Barbell, weight plates, dumbbell rack (from 550 euros)
If you want to look good naked in proper strength training, you can achieve your goal with a good dumbbell set and bench – see “Must-Haves”.
Most people who enjoy proper strength training sooner or later also get excited about the exercises from Olympic weightlifting: deep squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, bench presses, shoulder presses.
What applies to dumbbells is even more true of barbells:
You can find a lot of cheap junk, especially on online marketplaces – which is unfortunately still far too expensive for the quality offered.
IF you are investing in a barbell, it is best to do it properly. Namely in one that meets the Olympic standard: 220 cm length, 50 mm bore, 20 kg weight.
The standardization makes it easy for you to upgrade later: You can then buy weight plates and barbell racks from other manufacturers.
Of course it doesn’t have to be the ELEIKO competition set for 4,500 euros. For a good product, the associated weight plates and a shelf, you can calculate up to 550 euros.
Product recommendations barbell and accessories
You also need a suitable shelf for squats and shoulder presses:
If the above If barbell sets are out of stock or if you prefer to buy the components individually, you will find them here:
At Amazon there are many barbell sets, but none that currently convinces me. I haven’t tested the following barbell, but it makes a useful impression on me – in combination with suitable weight plates.
5. TRX sling trainer (220 euros)
Suspension trainers like TRX or aeroSling are now standard in every fitness studio.
The main reason is their versatility: you can train hundreds of different exercises with them.
A TRX is light as a feather. This makes it the ideal training device for on the go. Its 160 g does not matter even when checking in luggage at the airport.
You can mount it practically anywhere with the supplied accessories, even in the hotel room.
As enthusiastic as I am about the TRX, for me it is the ideal addition to dumbbell training.
Why? Because you can control the weight – and thus the progression – more precisely with dumbbells and thus establish a more effective feedback system.
This is the catch with the sling trainer: With the TRX, you control the resistance via the angle at which you perform an exercise – and this is not exactly reproducible. Inaccurate feedback can slow down training progress.
By the way: In 2020 the successful TRX sling trainer was released in a revised version 2.0, which should be easier to adjust and have more comfortable handles.
Product recommendation: TRX sling trainer Home 2, 219 euros.
6. Self-massage roller (35 euros)
A self-massage roller helps to loosen fascial adhesions and loosen tension. It also promotes blood circulation and muscle regeneration.
Fascia rolls can now not only be found in every fitness studio, they should also be part of the standard equipment in every fitness household.
Even people who do not do strength training at all feel better immediately after a fascia massage with the “foam roller”.
Tip: For several years there have also been massage guns that enable the principle of shock wave therapy as a do-it-yourself measure. I use – don’t laugh, I mean it – a massage attachment for my jigsaw and work on where my muscles tend to be tense and sticky.
Product recommendation: fascia roll (25 euros) and massage ball (8 euros).
Optional: massage gun (200 euros) or massage attachment for pendulum jigsaw (20 euros) – I use the latter with my Black + Decker cordless jigsaw.
7. Kettlebells (from 45 euros)
The kettlebell is more than a training tool, it’s a tradition.
It opens the door for you to even more variety in training, from the legendary kettlebell swing to the Turkish get-up.
Advantages are the small footprint and the versatile, functional training. For muscle building, however, they are not quite as effective as dumbbells and barbell – so they only come after (for me) in the priority list.
In this article you will learn how to find the right weight and what to look for when buying a kettlebell.
Product recommendation: Competition kettlebells are very handy, high quality and standardized in terms of dimensions and colors. Price: 45-120 euros.
8. Resistance bands (from 12 euros)
Resistance bands come in all possible sizes, shapes and thicknesses.
You can either use them for your own strength and stability exercises, e.g. use it to train the external rotators, make push-ups more difficult or make pull-ups easier – as described above).
Product recommendation: Dittmann resistance band, 12-36 euros (depending on strength).
9. Ab roller (18 euros)
Yes, it’s true, there are 1001 exercises with your own body weight and every imaginable fitness equipment to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles.
But few exercises make your abs burn as effectively as an ab roller.
In addition, the exercise just rocks and has long been one of my favorite exercises for the core muscles. Sore muscles guaranteed.
The Ab-Roller is available in countless versions with one or two rollers, made of plastic or birch wood (the latter for over 100 euros). I have a cheap model under 20 euros and it always does.
Keep it rollin ‘!
Product recommendation: Taurus abdominal trainer, 18 euros
Training plan: How to get the most out of your fitness equipment at home
If you have not yet done strength training, you can start immediately with this 4-week training plan.
Prepare for an exciting time because you will already be seeing and feeling some great changes in your body within these weeks.
As a beginner, your body reacts to almost every muscle load, you don’t need a training plan developed by NASA scientists or constant changes.
There are three important principles for getting started:
Keep it simple.
Be patient with you.
Don’t overdo it. Because the biggest mistake you can make in the beginning is wanting too much too quickly.
The following four-week onboarding plan will help you with this.
If you already have training experience, you can challenge yourself more and should look for a more demanding plan – for example one of the plans from Looking Good Naked.
Let’s go through the guidelines for each week first. Then you will get to know the individual exercises.
- You train 2 days a week, e.g. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- There should be at least one rest day between two training sessions.
Training equipment for home
At the beginning you only need two of the three must-haves:
You can pre-assemble the pull-up bar because it is used in the second month.
- Week 1: 1 set per exercise, 10-15 repetitions per set
- Week 2: 2 sets per exercise, 10-15 repetitions per set, 60 seconds break between sentences
- Week 3: 3 sets per exercise, 10-15 repetitions per set, 60 seconds break
- Week 4: 3+ sets per exercise (more weight!), 6-10 repetitions per set, 60 seconds break between sets
In this 4-week phase you are pursuing exactly two goals:
- You slowly get your body used to the strain.
- You avoid overloading and injuries.
Therefore you start with only one set per exercise and increase the number of sets for each exercise by one set at a time until the third week. You keep the weight constant so that you can do about 10-15 repetitions each.
Your goal is to keep perfecting the technique. It’s NOT about setting weight records!
If you get used to a wrong technique at the beginning, it will be incredibly difficult to eradicate these blunders later.
In week 4 you increase the weight so that you stay in the range of 6-10 reps. This will get your muscles used to a higher level of stress and set a new growth stimulus.
Perform the following exercises one after the other on each of the two training days. You train your entire body with it.
More training plans for HomeGym?
Looking Good Naked provides you with a complete training concept for your home
If you have the“ must-haves ”, you can start right away. Looking Good Naked is available on Amazon, in bookstores or here as an audio book. You can get a free reading sample here.
Even when it comes to fitness equipment for at home, you always have the most important training device with you: your own body.
Even if you haven’t set up your HomeGym yet, you can get started today. There are no excuses. Here you will find a simple muscle building training plan without equipment.
In the long term, I think a combination of dumbbell and bodyweight training is ideal for building a strong, lean, resilient and attractive body.
With the fitness equipment presented here, you can take your training to the next level. Even on a tight budget, you can train almost as effectively at home as in the studio. And as a newcomer, you can start immediately with the beginners training plan.
So there are no more excuses. Let’s get started!